Despite the recent strength in the South African rand, it is still a currency that weighs in relatively weakly against many of the other major currencies – which is a problem for South Africans who want to travel abroad, and it becomes even more difficult if you want to settle down and live there for the long term. But don’t be disheartened, there are still places where the rand does merit a relatively good rate of exchange, whether you are travelling or settling down.
Affordable travel destinations for South Africans
The cheapest destinations for South Africans to travel to generally involve no visa charges. Currently, South Africans can travel to 94 countries visa-free, including Thailand, Bali and Russia. Here are the cheapest foreign destinations for South Africans right now:
Thailand has a very low cost of living and comes in 6th position when one considers the 10 countries with the lowest cost of living in the InterNations’ Expat Insider survey. Overall Thailand still ranks as one of the cheapest places to live in South East Asia – and in the world in general. Travellers to Thailand are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation and food. There are also a rich variety of experiences on offer, whether you enjoy lazing on the beach, wonderful cuisine or exploring cultural traditions.
Indonesia comes in at 18th position on the cost of living index and while the cost of living in Indonesia differs greatly between the rural and urban areas, it is considered to have a far lower cost of living when compared to Western countries. South Africans visiting on rands can afford to stay in spacious, serviced accommodation and enjoy the rich variety of activities and culture on offer.
Vietnam is rated as the most affordable country in the world when it comes to cost of living. In fact, 73% of expats who have moved to Vietnam cited the lower cost of living as a big drawcard attracting them to the country. South Africans visiting Vietnam will need a visa to enter – but this can be issued on arrival at the airport and must be paid in US dollars. Once there, you will be surprised how cheap everything is – from travel to the local food (around R30 per meal) to accommodation.
At 4th position when it comes to cost of living, as measured by the Expat Insider survey, Portugal is a popular country for South African expats and travellers. South Africans travelling to Portugal will require a Schengen visa, but once you’ve covered the cost for this, you’ll be delighted by the relatively low prices of food, accommodation and travel in Portugal.
Portugal offers one of the lowest costs of living in Western Europe. Meals out are inexpensive – look out for Portugal’s prato do dia (the lunch special) which can cost from €8 to €11. In addition, many cities and towns in Portugal continue to have large, thriving markets where you can buy food cheaply. Many food items, which are luxuries everywhere else, like good wine and olive oil, are very affordable because they are locally produced.
If you are a South African expat and would like to know more about the benefits of financial emigration from South Africa, access your South African retirement annuity or need specialised South African tax advise, contact FinGlobal today..